One of the best/worst things about Lagos is that there are hardly any seasons to speak of. It's either hot and humid with occasional rains, or hot and humid with fairly regular rain. Without the passing of seasons it's been a little bit hard to remember how fast the time is passing. It's still strange to me when I read about friends back home having barbeques and attending baseball games. Isn't it still winter out there?
Since the weather doesn't provide the seasons I've been marking time based on where I'm at in my tour. So on a 2-year time scale this is just the end of my first season in Lagos (I'm starting my 6th month at post.) It's like the springtime of the tour. And I think I agree with what other people have said. The first six months you spend settling into post, then it starts feeling like home. And now that I'm all settled in, I've been planting lots of 'seeds' that I intend to cultivate for the rest of my time here.
First - actual seeds.
I've always wanted to have a garden and grow my own herbs and vegetables, but I just haven't been settled anywhere long enough to justify the effort, until now. So while my parents were in town two weeks ago we planted a whole mini-garden - basil, cilantro, parsley, tomatoes and chives. And given Lagos' amazingly fertile environment, it's no surprise that I've already got a flourishing herb-jungle on my porch. I am embarrassingly excited about that.
Second - 'community seeds'.
Even though I have a lot of good friends at the consulate and could very easily hang out with them every day for 2 years, I wanted to cast a bit of a wider net. With that in mind, I've joined a church that only a few consulate people attend (and will hopefully be doing some volunteering there starting this week). And as of Wednesday I finally joined the yacht club. (My first sail was promptly cancelled due to an unexpected storm, but I'm all set for next week.) Not only will I get a little exercise and learn a new skill while sailing, but both communities will give me a chance to give back and feel a little more connected to Nigeria.
Third - 'career seeds'.
As I get more comfortable with my work (after only 5 months I'm already in the 'more experienced' half of the officers in the consular section) I've been much more confident stepping up and taking a lead with some of my side projects - I'm even contemplating another side project that I'd like to get started. (Not really a secret - I'm hoping to get the 'green team' at post back up and running and do some more recycling and maybe a community clean-up day.) I guess now that the consulate feels like home to me I'm more anxious to make my mark.
So there you have it, it's springtime in Lagos. Judging from the way everything else grows around here I'm counting on these seeds to bear some major fruit by the time autumn rolls around.